Butterfly Effect

Jaso - Jericho, New York
Entered on March 7, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Crash. Head to head with reality. Alone with the rapid beating of my heart. Fear pumping into every vein of my body and every crevice of my brain. I sit thoughtlessly as the cold sweat vividly trails along my back. Hoping to wake up to my comfortable bed, and executing a reality check, I slap myself. It’s futile. After swallowing the harsh reality of this car accident in one distasteful gulp, I struggle to release myself from the grasp of the seatbelt with my own cold, rigid, and trembling hands. As I step out of my parents’ minivan, the cool September breeze incites an overwhelming surge of emotions within me. Experiencing a whirlpool of panic and fear, I nervously return to the driver’s seat and attempt to reverse at full throttle. No luck. I begin to drown in thoughts of escape: ripping off the license plates, running back home, and waking up the next morning pretending not to know what happened. Runaway plans fade and the sight of the wrecked fence haunts me as the turquoise glow of the digital clock outlines 2:43AM – a time boldly illuminating my defiance against my parents’ authority. Amidst all this, a man drives up and asks, “Hey, is everything all right?” Trying to remain calm, I reply, “Yes, everything’s fine.” What a blatant lie.

I need to face reality. And I hear it through my father’s voice. Although he’s thousands of miles away in Seoul, Korea, his words reach me: “Why have I worked seventeen years of my life, day and night, away from you and your mother? What was the purpose of me constantly telling you to obey your parents? Do you remember? It’s so that you wouldn’t make poor decisions like you just made. Remember this date, September 15th, 2007, I am telling you this: society does not give you second chances.”

For the past seventeen years of my life, I lived in safety, security, and comfort within my parents’ arms. I was not responsible for my own actions. However, once I am out of this safe zone, I then carry the curse of responsibilities. With new duties, I am no longer the passenger, but I am an adult behind the wheels, controlling my own actions and directions. My naïve actions lead to the crash, the last stepping stone before entering the real world; a raging river in which I, as a mere teenager, could have easily been drowned, incapable of fostering myself after missing a stepping stone.

This transition from adolescence to adulthood can only be achieved by knowledge through mistakes, awareness of the real world, and the assumption of responsibility. It is not until an individual understands and assumes his own responsibility that he bursts out of the safety bubble and becomes an adult. I have been a part of this society without responsibilities, but now I am blessed with a role in the community as an obligated individual. Although mistakes are inevitable, there is a limit to continuously making the same mistakes throughout life. The challenges of swallowing both bitter and sweet gulps in order to digest everyday life are mere treats that I anticipate.